Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SATA driver - ata_piix - problem with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Installer - SOLVED

I was trying to install RHEL 5.3 on one of the new industrial computers we had in our office. I had installed MS DOS 6.22, Windows 2000 and Windows XP on these machines without any issues. This PC model has Intel Core2Duo processor with an Intel main-board chipset.

The RHEL 5.3 installer, unfortunately, was getting stuck in the very beginning with "loading ata_piix driver". Doing Ctrl+Alt+F4 took to a terminal that showed periodic attempts to access the SATA HDD with different modes (UDMA/133, UDMA/33 etc.), but nothing worked.

In the BIOS, in 'Intergrated peripherals', there were three options for the SATA controller - IDE, AHCI and RAID, the default being "IDE". In addition, there's another setting "Enable legacy mode" that was set to "Disabled" by default.
I tried enabling the Legacy mode and the installer worked fine. But after (and during the installation), I noticed that the system was running quite slow. It seemed disk access was taking too much time. The HDD was detected as /dev/hda, instead of /dev/sda. I guess there was some IDE emulation happening in legacy mode.

Anyway, this wikipedia article on AHCI says that Intel recommends setting SATA mode to "RAID" instead of IDE or AHCI. I tried that too, but setting it to anything other than IDE, the DVD drive was not getting detected and the RHEL DVD won't boot at all. So, back to square one!

Then I tried linux noprobe at the RHEL installer prompt. The installer started in text mode and asked me to choose the driver to access the CDROM. I selected 'Intel ata' (or something similar with Intel in it), and everything was fine after that. The installer switched to graphical mode, formatting 150GB space and installing files only took around 12 minutes.

After installation, everything is working smooth and snappy. So, if you run in to the same problem (from the internet searches, I'm guessing there are quite a few souls with this issue), try the noprobe option. It worked for me!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Keys Hotel - Restaurant

"Spaces to work, places to play" is the tag line of the Keys Hotel (near Housing Board junction). Well, perhaps it's true, but this is definitely not a great place to dine. It's not a bad place, but it's not good enough, especially for the price.

The hotel lobby, though small, is beautifully designed. The ambiance gets you all cheered up when you walk in. This hotel apparently has American funding (see Berggruen Hotels) and that somewhat shows in their layout. The restaurant is on the mezzanine floor but the rest/washrooms are on the first floor. So, if you happen to want to wash your hands, you need to board the elevator (or lift?).

A buffet dinner here costs less than Rs.400, almost at par with SP Grand Days, my favourite restaurant in town. It was Kurian's treat (for his promotion, but who really cares, right? ;-) and we opted for the buffet, assuring ourselves that the à la carte menu is within arm's reach.

The food leaves nothing to brag about. It's as ordinary as it gets (for a restaurant/hotel of this stature) with not much choice. I'd say it's definitely not worth the money you pay, given that there are much better places in the city (SP Grand days and Maurya Rajadhani, for example). The tandoori chicken we ordered separately was nothing extraordinary.

The desserts were the worst part of the dinner. The most kanjoos selection of items. Vanilla & strawberry ice-creams, diced watermelon and fruits and something resembling chocolate brownies - that's all they had in the offering.

I'm guessing that dining is not one of the focus areas of this hotel group. So, if good food's what you crave for, look somewhere else.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

പേര് - The Name

സിനിമയുടെ പേര് മലയാളത്തില്‍ - തൊട്ടു താഴെ ഇംഗ്ലീഷില്‍ എന്തെങ്കിലും! സിനിമാ പോസ്റ്ററുകളില്‍ ഈ വക മണ്ടത്തരങ്ങള്‍ കണ്ടു മടുത്തു.
ഈയടുത്ത് കണ്ട ചിലത് ഇതാ:

  • പാലേരി മാണിക്യം: ഒരു പാതിരാക്കൊലപാതകത്തിന്റെ കഥ - A midnight murder story
  • ആഗതന്‍ - The one who came
  • കന്‍മഴ പെയ്യും മുമ്പേ - Before the hail storms


പണ്ട് കേട്ട ഒരു മിമിക്രി കാസറ്റില്‍ നിന്ന് ഒരു തട്ടുകട സീന്‍:

എന്തുണ്ട് കഴിക്കാന്‍?
   ദി പുട്ട്, ദി ദോശ, ദി കടല..
"ദി പുട്ടോ"? ഹെന്ത്?
   ഇപ്പോള്‍ അതല്ലേ ഫാഷന്‍? ദി കിങ്ങ്, ദി പ്രിന്‍സ്..